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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06YEREVAN1300 2006-09-18 12:15:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Yerevan
Cable title:  

USG INTERNET FREEDOM INITIATIVES IN ARMENIA

Tags:   EAID ECPS EINT PHUM AM 
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VZCZCXRO5981
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHYE #1300/01 2611215
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181215Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY YEREVAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3954
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 YEREVAN 001300 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR EB/CIP/BA NICHOLAS FETCHKO

E.O.12958:N/A
TAGS: EAID ECPS EINT PHUM AM
SUBJECT: USG INTERNET FREEDOM INITIATIVES IN ARMENIA

REF: STATE 142147



1. Per reftel request, Embassy Yerevan presents its comprehensive
review of usaid internet freedom programs in Armenia:



--------------------------


Economic Growth Programs


--------------------------





A. Project Name: Competitive Armenia Private Sector (CAPS) Program
Recipient: IT companies, IT Council, IT associations, and
educational institutions in Armenia
Project Description: The goal of the Competitive Armenian Private
Sector (CAPS) Program is to promote competitive growth and increase
the competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs),
thus increasing employment. The program will implement several
components directed towards helping business to achieve their growth
objectives. To date two clusters - Information Technologies and
Tourism have been selected and approved by USAID to be the focus of
the project.
IT Component: For the last two years the major activities targeted
at increased competitiveness of IT industry included (i) development
of IT strategy; (ii) development of IT marketing plan; (iii) IT
workforce assessment and development; and (iv) capacity building for
industry representatives.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $500,000 (IT portion: $250,000)
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $2,500,000 (IT portion: $1,250,000)



B. Project Name: Commercial Law and Economic Regulation Project
(CLERP)
Recipient: Public Sector Regulatory Commission of Armenia
Project Description: The overall purpose of CLERP is to facilitate
reform of Armenia's commercial legal, regulatory, and administrative
entities to remove or reduce barriers to private sector development,
attract FDI, and integrate Armenia into the global trading system.
CLERP provides technical assistance, training and some commodities
to selected counterparts. The activity consists of three components
and two sub-components: 1) Commercial Law; 2) WTO Compliance and
Post-Accession Support; and 3) Developing the Institutional Capacity
of the State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition
and Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC), focused upon
Telecommunications Regulation and Overall PSRC Capacity
Development.
IT Component: CLERP provided extensive assistance to the Ministry
of Justice in coordination with PSRC to draft the Law Electronic
Communication. Provided equipment, expanded public access through
websites of PSRC and SCPAC, and provided staff training to project
counterparts. The Project put in place a local area network (LAN)
and PBX inside PSRC. In addition, the project provided support to
the State Procurement Agency in e-procurement strategy, and
assistance to PSRC in telecom regulatory reform.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $2,500,000 (IT portion: $130,000)
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $2,500,000 (IT portion: $20,000)




C. Project Name: Tax Improvement Project (TIP)
Recipient: State Tax Service of Armenia
Project Description: The Project seeks to bring about managerial and
administrative reforms in the tax system while increasing tax
revenue collection.
IT Component: Provision of equipment and staff training
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $0
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $3,800,000 (IT portion: $400,000)




D. Project Name: Information and Communications Technology
Support
Recipient: State Committee for Real Property Cadastre of Armenia,
three Armenian State University students, IT companies in Armenia
Project Description: This activity includes three sub-activities -
the University Consortium (UC) project, Centralized Real Property
Database System for the State Committee of Real Property Cadastre,
and Sourcio.
IT Component: The UC project is an effort to organize three state
universities to support and enhance the existing IT infrastructure
and capacity in Armenia through preparation of graduate students who
are more effective and responsive to current market conditions. The
program's objective is to prepare students with a new Masters of
Science in Information Systems (MSIS) degree, which combines the
study of business and technology. Based upon New York University's
(NYU) MSIS model, the program was approved by the Armenian
government as a formal educational specialization in the summer of


2004. The first MSIS students were matriculated in September 2004
and completed the first program cycle with graduation in June 2006.

The State Committee for Real Property Cadastre requested assistance
from USAID/Armenia to implement an online system of real property
registration and information provision. Creation of the Centralized
Real Property Database System (CDS) lays the foundation for an
online information system for SCRPC. This sub-activity was
initiated in May 2004. The CDS will provide online access to those

YEREVAN 00001300 002 OF 006


regional cadastre offices with direct communication lines and data
transfer from the remaining regional cadastre offices. This system
will set the stage for the next steps of implementation, will
provide flexibility to add applications customized for different
user groups' needs, and will ensure sustainability, scalability, and
continuity of system implementation.

The overall goal of Sourcio project is to become an internationally
recognized IT consulting company providing a variety of services and
products based on open source software. The company has set up its
main objective to compete with international consulting companies
for large and high-value projects. It is also the company's goal to
increase the number of IT jobs in Armenia and to contribute to the
development of the Armenian IT sector.
Sourcio offers government agencies, NGOs, SMEs, and individuals
products and services based on open source software and be focused
on system integration, custom software development, IT consulting,
and open source application hosting. Sourcio concentrates on
offering complete horizontal and vertical solutions for the
government and private companies. The solutions include, in addition
to the software products or systems, also consulting,
implementation, maintenance, training, as well as other relevant
services.
USAID Armenia provides $300,000 of funding to Sourcio. The following
parties also contribute to establishment of this enterprise: Lycos
Armenia and Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF), contributing each
$500,000.

FY 05 Funding: U.S. $2,400,000 (all can be attributed to IT)
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $0



--------------------------


Energy and Water Programs


--------------------------





E. Project Name: Armenia Water Metering and Billing Improvement
Project (Urban Institute)
Recipient: Armenian Water Supply and Sewerage Company
Project Description: To strengthen the institutional and financial
sustainability and operational efficiency of the Armenian Water
Supply and Sewerage Company with the long-term objective of making
water companies more efficient and financially self-sustainable.
The Project focuses on supporting on-going water sector
restructuring and enhancing management effectiveness; improving the
ability of selected water sector entities to gather, analyze and use
water flow and customer information to improve their efficiency; and
promoting transparency in financial controls.
IT Component: The implementer completed installation of accounting
software and data libraries at four local branches and the Head
Office of the Armenian Water Supply and Sewerage Company; provided
training on new accounting system; procured and installed new
computers.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $586,009 (IT portion: $15,000)
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $0



F. Project Name: Institutional and Regulatory Strengthening of
Water Management in Armenia (PA Consulting)
Recipient: State Hygiene and Anti-Epidemic Inspectorate of Armenia,
Environmental Impact Monitoring Center of Armenia, Water Resources
Management Agency of Armenia, Republican Geological Fund of Armenia,
Hydro Geological Monitoring Center of Armenia, State Environmental
Inspectorate of Armenia, State Committee on Water Resources in
Armenia, Public Services Regulatory Commission of Armenia, Basin
Management Organization- in Akhuryan, Armenia, ArmStateHydromet of
Armenia
Project Description: To extend reforms and improve performance of
water sector management and regulatory institutions. The Project
focuses on strengthening the legislative and regulatory framework to
ensure water resource protection, integrated basin management and
sustainable commercial use of water resources.
IT Component: The implementer designs and develops the State Water
Cadastre Information System. This system addresses issues related to
institutional cooperation and data exchange among seven Government
of Armenia agencies with responsibilities in the key water
management functions of water resources monitoring, water use
permitting, and regulatory compliance. The implementer also procured
computer hardware and conducted trainings in computer basics and GPS
use.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $0
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $2,550,000 (IT portion: $63,448)



G. Project Name: Municipal Network for Energy Efficiency (MUNEE)
(Alliance to Save Energy)
Recipient: Municipalities and home-owner associations in Armenia
Project Description: To develop a network of officials, who will
work throughout Armenia to promote and raise energy efficiency
awareness among municipalities, local NGOs, and energy service
companies.
IT Component: The implementer conducted BEEP training of
municipalities and home-owner associations in use of computer-based
program development and business planning software for energy

YEREVAN 00001300 003 OF 006


efficiency project design.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $350,000 (IT portion: $7,000)
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $0



H. Project Name: Program to Strengthen Reforms and Enhance Energy
Security in Armenia (PA Consulting)
Recipient: Settlement Center CJSC of Armenia
Project Description: To improve performance of key institutions for
sustainable energy management. The objectives are to improve
transparency and commercial motivation in governance in order to
reduce the opportunities for corruption and to improve the quality
of service delivered to customers. The project also focuses on
increased energy security through the improvement in the management
and use of Armenia's scarce energy resources with greater efficiency
and in an environmentally sustainable way.
IT Component: The implementer upgraded existing equipment for Data
Acquisition System at Settlement Center CJSC. It also procured HP
ML570T03 US Tower Server S/N USE536N12N and HP L1740 Monitor S/N
CNK5360PQH.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $0
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $1,047,685 (IT portion: $22,772)



--------------------------


Democracy and Governance Programs


--------------------------





I. Project Name: Armenia Legislative Strengthening Program (ALSP)
Recipient: National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia
Project Description: This project provides technical assistance to
the NA of Armenia in increasing transparency of and citizen
participation in the legislative processes. It is addressing the
following tasks: 1) facilitating and institutionalizing the
involvement of Armenia's legislative community to advocate, lobby
and advise the NA on policy and legislative issues; 2) improving the
functioning of key committees and departments of the NA by having
them work closer with the legislative community in jointly analyzing
researching, commenting on and drafting legislation; 3) Improving
the ability of select units and individuals within the NA to be more
transparent, representative and responsive to citizen priorities,
interests and concerns; and 4) developing the NA's ability to
improve oversight of the executive branch through existing
mechanisms, and to the extent possible, through assisting in the
creation of new mechanisms via constitutional and legislative
amendments.
IT Components: NA's Citizen Letters Division used a new Public
Inquiry Tracking System (PITS) that collects data on citizen appeals
and tracking the history of how each inquiry is being addressed.
The database was introduced to the Standing Committee on Science,
Education, Culture, Youth Sports and Tourism Affairs on a pilot
basis. The Project also assisted the NA to create and maintain a
website, recognized as one of the best in Armenia.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $845,000 (IT portion: $150,000)
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $479,000 (IT portion: $50,000)



J. Project Name: Core Media Support Program
Recipient: Private Media Outlets, Banks in Armenia
Project Description: The goal of the program is to develop
self-sustainable media outlets that utilize professional business
practices, decrease dependence on political sponsorship and
individual business interests, and provide news and information
relevant to the public's interest. To achieve this IREX will offer
loans to qualified media outlets and will provide training and
technical assistance to develop the capacity of media outlets to
qualify and repay loans. IREX provides training and TA to improve
the professional quality of the media outlets' product and to
consolidate the market through the formation and support of
networks.
IT Component: IREX has partnered with AGB Nielson to develop a
television ratings system using peoplemeters and advance viewer
analysis software.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $0
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $1,500,000 (IT portion: $78,000)



K. Project Name: Armenia Local Government Program
Recipient: Local municipalities of Vanadzor, Jermuk, Kapan, Sisian,
Ijevan, Alaverdi, Sevan, Aparan, Artik, Abovian, Ararat, and
Echmiadzin and other cities in Armenia.
Project Description: Provide technical assistance in: a) policy
reform and legislative initiatives affecting local government, b)
increasing local government fiscal management, c) improving local
government public services through performance management and
customer service training and technical assistance, d) developing
local government associations, and e) strengthening local
governments, so that they are more effective, accountable and
accessible to citizens.
IT Component: An IT needs assessment was carried out for all program
cities. Based on the assessment LGP3 is providing computers and
other IT related equipment to municipalities.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $2,700,000 (IT portion: $135,000)
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $0


YEREVAN 00001300 004 OF 006




L. Project Name: Rule of Law Development Program
Recipient: Lawyers, judges, law students and the general population
of Armenia.
Project Description: Provide technical assistance and training to
a) strengthen the lawyers' and judges' associations in Armenia,
making them more responsive to their members; b) strengthen the
ability of the Armenian bar and judiciary to act as an independent
and impartial participant in and commentator on the legal reform
process in Armenia; and c) educate future legal professionals
through legal education reform.
IT Component: Computers were provided to selected advocates.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $699,624 (IT portion: $43,000)
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $1,963,000



M. Project Name: Youth and Community Involvement Program (YCAP)
Recipient: Village communities in Armenia.
Project Description: YCAP works with youth in village communities to
form, activate and develop informal Youth Action Clubs (YACs) to
increase the level and impact of civic activism among young men and
women. Similarly, YCAP works with other partner communities to
increase community awareness of and involvement in addressing public
issues by supporting Community Advisory and Action Commissions
(CAACs) formed by adult residents of villages. YCAP does not
provide funds or grants to YACs and CAACs, but does support Action
Centers (ACs) affiliated with the YACs and CAACs by providing a
limited amount of equipment. YCAP is also supposed to support
PTAs.
IT Component: Computers and other IT equipment are included among
the equipment that YCAP provides to Action Centers.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $1,000,000 (IT portion: $10,000)
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $540,000 (IT portion: $20,000)



N. Project Name: Access to Information for Community Involvement
Recipient: Freedom of Information Center of Armenia (FOICA)
Project Description: USAID supports the Center to organize
trainings and talk-shows in the RA regions on how to use the RA law
on "Freedom of information". The regional advocates of the center
provide free legal consulting in all the regions of Armenia on the
RA law on "Freedom of Information", as well as on the judicial
defense of the right to be informed.
IT Component: Assistance has been provided in e-government
services.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $147,000 (IT portion: $11,000)
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $0



O. Project Name: Armenia: Support to the 2005-2008 Local and
National Elections.
Recipient: Political Parties and Central Election Commission of
Armenia.
Project Description: Under this program, the International
Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), the National Democratic
Institute (NDI), and the International Republican Institute (IRI)
provide technical assistance in developing national voter registry,
election administration; voter education; strengthening political
culture; political party building; women's involvement in the
political process; and polling.
IT Component: As part of IFES's assistance to improve the national
voter registry, IFES will provide IT and other related equipment
need to update and maintain the voter registry.
FY05 Funding: U.S. $1,763,188 (IT portion: $100,000)
FY06 Funding: U.S. $1,585,529 (IT portion: $100,000)




--------------------------


Health Programs


--------------------------





P. Project Name: Primary Healthcare Reform (PHCR) Project
Recipient: Armenian Targeted Primary Healthcare Reform Facilities,
Ministry of Health of Armenia, and State Health Agency of Armenia
Project Description: PHCR focuses on reforming health care systems,
policies, and procedures to extend primary healthcare (PHC) reforms
nation-wide. It builds clinical skills in family medicine through
continuous medical education for family doctors and nurses and seeks
to improve overall quality of care in PHC. The Project works to
increase equitable and efficient distribution of health resources
through healthcare financing reform and by introducing an open
enrollment process that allows patients to choose their provider.
All of the Project's activities are supported by a Public Education
component that will educate the public on major health reforms as
well as improve health-seeking behavior through health promotion
activities.
IT Component: The Project will provide targeted health facilities
with computers and printers for financial management and open
enrollment functionality. Estimated number of computers is 390.
The Project will provide corresponding training to health facility
staff.

PHCR will also provide a server to the National Institute of Health
(NIH) and the State Health Agency (SHA) to support the Open
Enrollment System. Each server will contain the Open Enrollment

YEREVAN 00001300 005 OF 006


database. The NIH will utilize the data for collecting nation-wide
statistics and will serve as the final clearer of data before the
information is transferred to the SHA for payment to the facilities.
PHCR is developing tailor-made software for the open enrollment
system (building on the predecessor project, Armenia Social
Transition Project (ASTP).

Finally, the Project will create a Licensing Database for the
Ministry of Health. The Project will develop or procure software
(depending on the availability of off-the-shelf solutions), provide
the server, and a minimal number of workstations for the system.
This activity is just beginning the IT needs are currently being
assessed.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $0
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $1,047,685 (IT portion $22,772)



--------------------------


Cross-Cutting Programs


--------------------------





Q. Project Name: Human and Institutional Capacity Development
(HICD) Project
Recipient: Armenian IT companies, IT associations, State Tax
Service of Armenia, Public Services Regulatory Commission of
Armenia, National Assembly of Armenia, Government Agencies of
Armenia
Project Description: The goal of HICD is to help the Partner
organization improve its performance in critical areas leading to
measurable results in achieving the organization's goals and
objectives.
IT Component: A number of capacity building programs were conducted
to help to:
-- Identify the role of IT in development strategy of Armenian
companies;
-- Identify innovative ICT solutions in different business areas
-- To provide networking opportunities to exchange ideas and
concerns on enabling environment for ICT development
-- To improve strategic planning and management skills of IT sector
business associations
-- To promote the use of ICT-based products, networks, services and
applications;
-- To enhance partnerships among the Government, public and private
sectors, regional and international institutions in developing
Information Society.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $2,000,000 (IT portion: $67,000)
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $2,000,000 (IT portion: $50,000)




R. Project Name: Eurasia Foundation Grant Program
Recipient: Armenian NGOs, local governments, other civil society
representatives.
Project Description: The purposes of the activity are to facilitate
the development and growth of the private sector; promote good
governance and strengthen civil society; enhance media and
communications capacity; strengthen regional cooperation and promote
social science research.
IT Component: (i) Inter Municipal Networking & Cooperation Program
-the grants focused on the creation of intercommunity networks in
support of more effective use of community resources and development
of inter-community partnership and collaboration; and (ii) Purchase
of computers for grantee organizations.
FY 05 Funding: U.S. $2,000,000 (IT portion: $120,000)
FY 06 Funding: U.S. $2,400,000 (IT portion: $50,000)



S. Project Name: Export Control and Related Border Security
Recipient: Government of Armenia, Commission on Export Control
Project Description: A web-page to advertise and enlighten potential
exporters as to the regulations and procedures to control and
license munitions, dual-use goods and other items regulated by the
Armenian Export Control Law.
IT Component: Armenian Government web page.
FY 06 Funding: $5,000.



--------------------------


Law Enforcement Programs


--------------------------





T. Project Name: Regional Computer Network for Armenian Police
Recipient: Police of the Republic of Armenia
Project Description: Intranet interconnectivity of all police
precincts in Armenia to access the central police databases.
IT Component: Purchase of hardware (computers, printers, scanners,
servers) and software, as well as provide training to police
personnel.
FY 05 funding: $453,000
FY 06 funding: $70,000



U. Project Name: Expansion of Border Management Information System
Recipient: National Security Service, Government of Armenia
Project Description: Intranet interconnectivity of all ports of
entry in Armenia to access the Border Management Information System,

YEREVAN 00001300 006 OF 006


a program for immigration control
IT Component: Purchase of passport readers, hub to link all
computers, switches, UPS, servers, etc., to enable ports of entry to
access the immigration database.
FY 05 funding: $52,994
FY 06 funding: $517,000



V. Project Name: Border Guard Training Center
Recipient: National Security Service, Government of Armenia
Project Description: Purchase of computer equipment and office
furniture for the Border Guard Training Center in Yerevan.
IT Component: Purchase of computers, printers, scanners, digital
cameras, etc. to help train candidates of the National Security
Service to Border Guard positions.
FY 05 funding: $25,000
FY 06 funding: N/A



W. Project Name: Training for Armenian Border Guards
Recipient: National Security Service, Government of Armenia
Project Description: English and computer training for Border Guard
officers and candidates
IT Component: Computer training
FY 05: $99,593
FY 06: N/A



X. Project Name: Training Program at Police Induction Center
Recipient: Police of Republic of Armenia
Project Description: Establishment of classrooms and curriculum
development for new police candidates at the Police Induction
Center.
IT Component: Purchase of computer equipment and development of
curriculum to provide computer training.
FY 05: $145,200
FY 06: unknown at this time



Y. Project Name: Vanodzor Customs House Renovation
Recipient: State Customs Service, Government of Armenia
Project Description: Creation and establishment of training
facility, including a computer classroom, for the customs service.
IT Component: Construction of computer classroom and purchase of
computers, server, hub, switch, cabling, workstations, etc. to train
customs officers.
FY 05 funding: $49,850
FY 06 funding: N/A



Z. Project Name: Renovation of the Forensics Laboratory of the
National Bureau of Expertise
Recipient: National Academy of Sciences, Government of Armenia
Project Description: Renovation of the Forensics Laboratory,
including internet access
IT Component: Purchase of server and IT equipment to establish
wireless Internet interconnetivity
FY 05 funding: $12,000 (est.)
FY 06 Funding: N/A

GODFREY